Will working with agility be the new norm now?

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‘Hyper agile’, ‘new agile’, ‘future agile’, ‘agile & flexible’ join the ‘agile’ buzzword culture throughout our organisations and daily life.

But what do we really mean by ‘being more agile’ post the aftermath of COVID-19? What uncertainty will our organisations, global economy and our sociology need to inspect and adapt to in the future? And how will this be met through industry projects?

The only real known is that we will need to respond to change.

Since the 20 March whatever plans we had made changed immediately.

Gym workouts → Online classes
Nipping to the shops → Planned food shopping with social distancing
School drop → Homeschooling
Buying as a household → Buying for others

To keep the society going we’ve all had to adapt in the way we live and work.

‘Agile’ is about responding to change, working together as a team, communicating, and gaining feedback on products faster to enable return on investment sooner. It’s part of the core values:

Individuals and interactions OVER processes and tools
Working software OVER comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration OVER contract negotiation
Responding to change OVER following a plan

These values often get misinterpreted so without digging deeper let me just highlight the key word here ‘over’. These values are so important for life after COVID-19 as our ways of working will, just as they have already, value more that of the left over that of the right. This does not mean in any such way that the processes and tools, documentation, contracts, and following a plan become obsolete.

I have three questions for your honest reflection:
1. Have you always delivered a project; on time, on budget, meeting quality?
2. Have you ever slipped on even one of these?
3. Have changes in design, legislation or milestones become blockers to the next phase?

Well this is where the values of the Agile Manifesto come in. I often reflect on how organisations respond in a crisis, and unsurprisingly suddenly decisions are made, products are released, waste (time) is reduced and people gain a little more autonomy over their workload.

Agile is a journey. And a lightweight process. It’s designed to respond to change quickly, reduce stale and outdated documentation, release products often and give people the ability to make decisions, work cross functionally and be a collective in decision making, which in turn reduces bottlenecks.

Our post COVID-19world is unknown, with the economic dip, careers in jeopardy and physical interactions at a minimum we need to adapt as we do in a crisis.

We have already proved in this time of uncertainty that organisational changes are rife, car manufacturers almost overnight became ventilator manufacturers, designing and testing within weeks, legislation being met and shipment made.

Now we know our organisations, teams and individuals can shift their mindset to become more flexible through a crisis. Let's use this new learning, knowledge, autonomy and intelligence in developing our business strategy for the future, perhaps it will look something like this?

Working collaboratively as one AS WE HAVE within our households
Empowering teams to support each other AS WE HAVE with our neighbours
Removing waste from our documentation AS WE HAVE in a crisis
Allowing adaptation for change AS WE HAVE in our sociology

Will working with agility be the new norm now?

You can find out more about working with agility by signing up for free to APM's Power of Projects Takeover, the virtual event taking place from June 1-12. #powerofprojects

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Image: Michail Petrov/Shutterstock

Helen Garcia

Posted by Helen Garcia on 28th May 2020

About the Author

As a project practitioner with 10+ years of experience across a number of industries and sectors, reaching from rail, simulation, cloud platforms and pharmaceuticals, I have a deep understanding of project methodologies.  I am passionate about delivering change, striving to serve others by enabling recognition, inspection and adaptation as a team to drive organisational change. I strongly believe in guiding others and in doing so this motivates me.

My vision is to enable households and businesses to adopt an agile mindset, not through purists approaches but in reflection of what we have learnt and how we can use this to continuously evolve into better versions of ourselves, our teams and our organisations. 

Follow me on twitter: @hels_wills - Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/helen-g-80a93340/  or check out by website at: https://maykitprojects.com/


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